Charges Dropped Against 14 Warren County Leaders

Charges have been dropped against more than a dozen officials of Front Royal, Virginia, who were accused turning a blind eye to alleged corruption and embezzlement.

Fourteen officials were indicted in September in the wake of an investigation into the Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority (EDA) and its former executive director, Jennifer McDonald. A review of authority records uncovered wrongdoing and secret self-serving deals.

McDonald was indicted in May on 28 felony embezzlement related charges. She had brokered a deal with a developer who promised projects funded with money that never materialized. The developer also promised a police academy overseen by the sheriff. The sheriff wasn't charged in the scheme, but was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound days after McDonald's arrest.

All five county supervisors, the school superintendent, the county administrator, the county attorney and six current and former Economic Development Authority leaders faced a round of charges relating to failing to act when mismanagement came to light.

Several supervisors went to court Monday to ask that the misdemeanor charges be dropped and argued there was no basis for the allegations.

The judge agreed and dropped the misdemeanor charges against all 14 defendants.

Members of a concerned citizens group, the Warren County Coalition, say they have been pressing county leaders for months to examine government corruption that's allegedly led to millions of dollars in missing and misspent money.

The supervisors still face a recall petition residents filed and that hearing is set for Nov. 22.

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